“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” ~Steve Maraboli
While going through some major life changes, I am finally learning to let go. I am learning to relinquish control. And I am learning that everything will be okay in the end.
I am in the middle of my first pregnancy. I thought I could control my body. I thought I could control my outcome.
Something I regularly preach to anyone who will listen is that we can’t control the outcome of any situation. We can only control our actions.
That means we can aim for a particular outcome, and do everything in our power to achieve it, but we cannot control what actually happens.
We can’t control other people, the weather, bureaucracy, or anything else that is outside of ourselves. Obstacles will always get in our way, and we have no power over them.
I have always considered myself a fairly fit and active person. I’ve competed in many ultramarathons and powerlifting competitions. I like to go hiking in technically challenging and precarious locations. But pregnancy took this all away from me.
Working in the fitness industry, I am bombarded with what perfect fitness professionals look like and do. I see fabulously fit pregnant females lifting weights, running marathons, and doing all the things I enjoy doing. But my body just doesn’t want to cooperate.
I only recently realized that I need to let go.
I thought I could climb one more mountain before my body had enough, so I chose what I thought would be a relatively short and easy mountain to climb.
Unfortunately, I completely forgot that my heart rate is now much higher, so I was getting puffed much earlier and had to walk much slower than usual.
The mountain was very steep toward the top, and I was crawling up on feet and hands, with my awkward belly getting in the way. There were huge fallen trees strewn across my path, and I did my best to climb around, over, or through them.
But 500 meters from the top of the mountain I got stuck. I was too short to climb over one fallen tree, and too big to climb through the gap where it had split.
In ordinary circumstances, I would have climbed through and kept pushing until I reached the top. But this time I sat down and realized that the further up I went, the more difficult and uncomfortable sliding down I’d have to do on the return journey.
My body was no longer the right shape for this sort of activity.
I sat down and realized I no longer have complete control over my body. My body has control over me. I had to let something go.
I let go of control over my body. I let go my ability to cover tough terrain. I let go of challenging adventures in the near future.
I simply let go.
And I realized that letting go is not so bad. Everything would be okay in the end.
Later, I would be able to try these things again. I would try to teach my child about the great outdoors. One way or another, everything would be okay. I would be okay.
I am also in the middle of renovating our house and looking for a new one. Again, I thought I could control the situation and the outcome.
I thought that we would have a new house and have sold our current one by now. I even thought we would have a nursery set up by now.
I have searched for houses, I have helped pack up and de-clutter our house, and my husband has done a lot of renovations. But I did not count on finding multiple faults in our house that need repairing. And I did not count on our dream house not showing up yet.
I have controlled my own actions, and I did my best to control the outcome, but I discovered that I could not.
So I sat down and I realized that it doesn’t matter where we live or when we move. The baby will come when it is ready, whether we are ready or not.
Again, I had to let go. And I was set free. Free of control. Free of being perfect. And free of the future. All I can do is live in the present.
There are so many things in life that we strive to control. We strive to control our future, our finances, our career, our relationships, and our lifestyle.
We get stressed when obstacles prevent our complete control and things don’t work out as planned.
Stress causes unhappiness, and no one wants to be unhappy.
We can only control our actions and be happy and satisfied that our actions have taken us closer to our dream outcome. But in the end, the exact outcome may be slightly different, or not come to us as soon as we’d like.
If we relinquish complete control over everything and everyone, then we can set ourselves free.
We gain the ability to live in the present. And when we live in the present, we are able to think clearly. We can realize that we will be okay no matter what happens.
If we don’t get our desired outcome, we can learn from the experience. We can try something different, and still aim toward a brighter future. There is always hope for us.
I know that I can no longer physically challenge my body as much as I used to. But in a few months, or maybe even a few years, I can try again.
I have also learned that although we have not found our next house yet, we can make do where we are now until we are able to move. It’s not our ideal situation, but we will continue to do what we can to move toward that.
We keep learning, we keep growing, and we can be happy knowing that everything is okay, no matter how our journey pans out. It is quite liberating now knowing that we do not have to stress about losing control of the situation.
We can only control our own actions, and by doing that, we can rest easy, knowing that in the end, we will be just fine. In the end, we will be better off for our experiences. In the end, everything will be okay.
Man jumping image via Shutterstock